Alternate Formats

Even if your PDF document is designed to be technically accessible, it may still need to be provided in alternate formats upon request to ensure equal access to information for individuals with disabilities.  Alternate formats are print documents that are converted to a different format such as electronic text, Braille, or audio, so that they can be used by individuals with disabilities.  Individuals with disabilities such as visual impairments or learning disabilities may use certain assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to listen to the text aloud or screen magnifiers to enlarge the text.

In order to quickly and easily adapt your PDF document to any format upon request, it is recommended that you produce an electronic text file (e.g. HTML or Rich Text Format) at the same time as you produce the PDF file.  This will save time on conversion.  The electronic text file should include text descriptions of all relevant images.

To save as an electronic text format, follow the steps below:

  1. Choose File from the menu bar and select Save As.
  2. Under the Save File As Type menu, choose the format you wish to save the PDF document.  Options include Text, Rich Text Format, HTML, etc.

For information on provision of alternate formats for individuals with disabilities, please contact your campus' Disability Support Services office.

Video Tutorial - Alternate Formats for PDF Files (1:47)


  • This training has been funded in part by the EnACT (Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology) grant. 
  • Written and developed by Sacramento State Online Learning professionals, Monica Range and Cryssel Vera and technical crew, Ivan Vajar, Ken Young, and Jennifer Wicks with guidance from the CSU Professional Development Work Group.


If you have difficulty accessing any material on this site or need an alternate format, or you just have questions and want to give feedback, contact the Accessible Technology Initiative.

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